There is an exponential rise of competition in the job sector. Earning even an entry level job is getting tough as the job seeker lack experience and skills. Annually numbers of students come up to take admissions in the engineering colleges, but ironically they end up either doing a minimal job or they remain 'underemployed'. In contemplation of this crisis, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to introduce compulsory internship for engineering students from the session 2017-18.This step has been taken to improve the employability rate of the students and nurture their skills making them industry ready.
Internships are a unique opportunity for students who get to gain knowledge and skills in a professional setting while pursuing their academic education. Internships can be done independently as well after completion of studies or may be also part of an educational program that is meant to earn academic credits. In both circumstances, the interns develop a great understanding regarding the real professional life and also realize their strengths and weaknesses.
Matching one's expectations and achieving productive outcomes raise the requirement for discovering out a right kind of internship program. Not everyone dreams to work with ace MNCs in future; there are students who even want to work with NGOs after the completion of their courses. In this regards, AICTE has taken the responsibility of indentifying organizations/institutes both in India and abroad and signing MoUs.
The purpose of an internship programme is however classified into primary and secondary objectives. Where the primary objective while enduring an internship programme is to gain practical and career related experience, to develop and increase self-confidence, to comprehend the ethical practice of the business related to the profession and so on. On the other hand, the secondary objective includes letter of recommendations, obtain satisfactory academic credits from the concerned University and to grab references from co-workers during the internship.
Throughout the internship process, the role of the intern is the most pivotal. It is the students who decides and chose the organization where they will be interning, understanding and evaluating all the pros and cons of interning in that particular organization. The students need to consider and examine the regulations for interns, the company's reputation, their mission and vision before taking up the programme. And after joining the firm, the interns should deliberately observe the work environment and build up productive relationship with the fellow interns. Maintaining a diary of events on a daily basis is equally important, that will eventually help to prepare a progress report on the final day of the programme.
Today, internship has become a key element in curricula at many institutions of higher education. Institutions are urging the students to take up internships on the basis of their interest and future aspirations. The institution hereby holds the responsibility to guide the students in choosing relevant organization. There are plethoras of organizations that in the name of 'paid internship' make the interns to perform fruitless tasks like data entry, typing or call centre operations irrelevant to their area of interest. On that account, it's the responsibility of the institution to proactively alert the students to not fall for such limited financial benefits only to satisfy university regulations. A pre-internship talk with students is necessary to avoid such situations.
One of the crucial reasons for taking up internship program is, to gain hand on training which the four walls of the classrooms are often unable to provide. The organization should offer ample practical tasks to the students which will further help them in their on-job life. A handy evaluation and feedback is always essential in the process of improving oneself. In the end of the internship these factors matters a lot, as this helps the young mind's to work on their flaws and take initiatives to brush up their qualities. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), an employer is more likely to offer a job to a student prior to graduation if he or she had an internship experience in their resume. Often internship serve as a screening device for employers and in many cases, the organization hire the interns right after the completion of studies.
In the time when the curricula of most of the engineering courses have turned out quite monotonous, the dawn of mandatory internships would unquestionably help shaping the career path of the engineering students. Thus, this will sooner or later bridge the gaps that exist between the industry and the fresh graduates.
Dr. Premanand Shenoy
Dr. Premanand Shenoy is a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering in Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management. He has 20 years of industrial and 12 years of teaching experience. He has been also actively involved in consultancy services, Industry Institute Interaction Programmes, student internship programs, skill development courses and so on.